CHP questions plans to change Ankara’s architecture

CHP questions plans to change Ankara’s architecture

Emine Kart - ANKARA
CHP questions plans to change Ankara’s architecture

AFP photo

An Ankara deputy from Turkey’s main opposition party has questioned whether the president and the government were aiming to erase traces of the republic era in the capital city via a conscious policy.

In a parliamentary motion presented to Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman’s office on July 10, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ankara deputy Necati Yılmaz recalled recently delivered remarks by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan concerning the architecture of Ankara.

Erdoğan’s remarks, which were delivered at the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University’s graduation ceremony for the 2015-2016 academic year in June, have appeared in the press, Yılmaz said in his motion.

“Despite having been declared as the capital city of our republic, Ankara is a city which has not been equipped with works that would contribute to our culture and our history - except the parliament and a limited number of buildings. To overcome this we decided to equip the city with works which would integrate the Seljuk and Ottoman architecture with contemporary needs. I believe that we accomplished this by adding the Beştepe Külliyesi [presidential palace complex] to many of our other firsts in the history of our republic,” Erdoğan said at the ceremony on June 22, to which Yılmaz referred in his motion.

Yılmaz then listed a series of questions to be answered by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım. 

“Has there been any decision taken by the government to equip Ankara, as Erdoğan mentioned, with modern works of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture integrated with contemporary needs? If so, when was this [decision] taken [and] by which institution or institutions? Which areas are included to equip the capital with Seljuk and Ottoman architecture? In this context, what will be done? Is equipping Ankara with a structure similar to the Beştepe Külliyesi… on the agenda? If so, what are the details?” he asked.

Erdoğan moved into the huge and controversial new presidential palace in 2014.

The cost of the palace, which amounted to at least 1.37 billion Turkish Liras ($615 million), as well as the legality of building it inside the supposedly officially protected Atatürk Forest Farm, were both criticized by the opposition.

Erdoğan refers to the complex, where he has hosted several cabinet meetings, as the “Presidential Külliye,” in reference to the Ottoman tradition of having a mosque surrounded by various public facilities.